Imagine coming home from a hectic day?s work, only to learn that you now have to spend more time preparing dinner! Women everywhere face this dilemma, including First Lady Michelle Obama. In an interview with Cooking Light, the First Lady stated ?..Life is different. We?re not going back to the way things were in our grandmother?s time. We have to come up with new and healthier norms?. How do we create healthy norms in today?s fast-paced and hectic life? Three nutritionists were presented with this dilemma and asked for key ingredients that everyone must keep in their kitchens so that meal preparation is both healthy and expedient. According to these experts, if you have these 12 ingredients around, meal preparations will be a breeze:
Greek Style Yogurt: According to nutritionists Heather Bauer and Cheryl Forberg, this is a great staple to have around because you can put in dips as a replacement for sour cream and mayo. You can also add yogurt in a breakfast smoothie or a parfait. You will be increasing your calcium and protein intake with this lovely addition.
Eggs: It is a great idea to mix eggs with veggies to create frittatas, salads and delicious omelettes. They are also easy to hard boil and eat on the go. Eggs have just 70 calories a piece, 6 grams protein and over 15 minerals and vitamins. These little guys pack a nutritional punch.
Frozen berries: Imagine combining Greek yogurt with frozen berries as a replacement for sugar, candies and cookies. Berries are filled with powerful antioxidants. They are high in fiber and antioxidants. A cup full of berries has 9 grams fiber and 80 calories. That equates to more fiber than a bowl full of cereal.
Canned Tomatoes: There are many varieties of canned tomatoes. You can use fire-roasted, diced tomatoes for salsa, pizza sauce and pasta. Canned veggies are also a great addition because they undergo the canning process within a few hours after being harvested, therefore maintaining their nutritional value.
High fiber crackers: These can be used as fillers before a meal. Simply top them up with almond butter or use them in place of croutons in your salad. You can also pair them with low fat cheese or crush them and use as breading for your chicken.
White Vinegar: This makes a wonderful base for salad dressing particularly when mixed with lemon and olive oil. It can be dressed over chicken and salads or used to clean your house!
Hard Cheese: Romano and Parmesan cheeses are lower in calories and fat. They can be sprinkled over salads, veggies and pasta. They are also great flavoring agents!
Past and Rice: Even in a bare pantry, there are tons of things you can do with rice and pasta. Simply add veggies to rice or cook some canned tomatoes with pasta.
Mushrooms: Shiitakes and Creminis are excellent for vegetable sautee and stir fries. You can use them as fillers in a burger, meatloaf and ground meat.
Canola Oil: This oil is a plant-based omega 3 and low in saturated fat. It is excellent for baking, frying, making a salad dressing and saut?ing. It?s an oil for all seasons.
Broth: Broth can be used to puree veggies,? to add flavor to mashed potatoes or thin out sauces. You can use to make soup. Simply add some leftover chicken and vegetables to create a delicious soup. It can be used as a substitute where the recipe calls for water.
Frozen organic meals (less than 300 calories): There are some night when you just don?t feel like cooking or you don?t have a clue what to cook. Keeping a few frozen, organic meals around will help. You can add some steamed veggies like spinach or broccoli to increase the nutritional value.
Healthy and quick cooking may not seem possible in today?s hectic world, but with the above mentioned 12 ingredients in your pantry, the possibilities are endless!